Be Bop Deluxe strived on the guitar manipulation of Bill Nelson and were regarded as one of the greatest art rock groups ever to form. Aside from arranging and writing most of the music and lyrics, Nelson could sculpt his guitar playing to form experimental, irregular, and unaccustomed notes and phrases, encompassing themes of the future and science fiction in many of the group's songs. Raiding the Divine Archives is a hearty compilation of tracks taken from the bulk of Be Bop Deluxe's catalog. Representing their innovative debut release, Axe Victim, 1975's Futurama, and the dazzling Drastic Plastic album from 1978 among others, this assortment offers a defined overview of this band's incomparable and imaginative music. Nelson's creativity bursts through the seams on the weirdly entertaining "Jet Silver & the Dolls of Venus," complete with its Barbarella-ish entendres. "Ships in the Night," with a robust saxophone solo from Nelson's brother Ian is one of this band's best singles from 1976's Sunburst Finish, and tunes like "Sister Seagull" and "Life in the Air Age" are testimony to Be Bop's intriguing musical craft. The four bonus tracks contain metaphysical musical rudiments as well, especially the nightmarish "Sleep That Burns" that deals with the concept of hell during a dream. These bonus tracks are only available on the compact disc version of this collection and are not included in album or cassette form, but they do round out a definitive and beguiling array of songs from this extraordinary band.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne